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Matters of Opinion

Authors and Contributors
Terry Steinwand

In this issue of North Dakota OUTDOORS, we take a look back at deer gun hunting seasons past in North Dakota.

While some of the black and white photographs and written clips predate myself and many of our readers, the images and words ring as true today as they did back in the day.

The deer gun season remains one of the most anticipated and celebrated times of year for many in North Dakota.

Other than some of our major holidays, it’s hard to imagine any other event or season that lures as many family members and friends from across borders, or from around the state, to gather in camps and elsewhere to hunt deer.

The number of deer gun licenses made available to hunters this year (55,150) was more than 2017 (54,500). While that is not a big increase, we are heading in the right direction.

Here at Game and Fish, our deer management plan, which is reevaluated every five years, calls for making available 75,000 deer licenses to hunters.

Meeting this goal is no easy task because it depends greatly on how winter treats North Dakota’s animals and the amount of wildlife habitat on the landscape.

With the deer season in mind, and the hope that those who go into the field this month have their rifles properly sighted in, readers will also find in this issue of OUTDOORS a list of shooting ranges/facilities around the state.

We believe this list will positively serve our readers, especially those who are looking for a convenient and safe place to shoot.

Yet, as the editor’s note in the article points out, it’s possible that the list is not as comprehensive as it could be. Things might be missing. Some shooting facilities might not be on the list altogether, or there might be some on the list that should not be there.

Whatever the case, we want to make this list as complete as possible and updates and corrections will be made on the Game and Fish Department’s website at

As Marty Egeland, Game and Fish Department education supervisor, points out early in the article, we understand here at the Department that “people need places to shoot, to hone their skills and become proficient marksmen and hunters.”

Here’s to shooting straight this deer gun season, correctly identifying your target before pulling the trigger and respecting landowners and fellow hunters while in the field.

While the deer gun season will eventually pass, much remains in terms of activities, such as ice fishing on the state’s record number of lakes.

Game and Fish Department fisheries biologists have also provided some suggestions in these pages on where to wet a line this winter in your neck of the woods.

Let’s hope for a winter that allows easy access on all our waters out in North Dakota’s great outdoors.